Loud Music

Wheatus (USA)

It’s another positive I do like about attending rock music festivals. Often you find yourself exposed to an artist which you may not necessarily be that familiar with.

I did have such an experience recently while enjoying the Pandemonium Rocks Festival held at the Eatons Hill Hotel complex – north end of Brisbane Australia.

While I had heard of the band name “Wheatus” somewhere along my many decades long rock music fan experience venture, they were personally familiar for me only in name, not in substance nor within my music collective.

Wheatus, are an American Alt/Rock band from Northport, NY who first formed in 1995, by frontman Brendan B Brown. Since then they have numerous releases (7 albums deep) but in fact are still principally best known for their 2000 single “Teenage Dirtbag”. That highly impactful and ubiquitous tune achieved ballad status for many rock fans emerging during that era.

Brendan B Brown – Wheatus

While my personal preference remains rock of a much darker and aggressive edge (ie: industrial – punk – speed metal) — I have always had a special spot for bands and for the culture of The Pixies, Sonic Youth, Dandy Warhols — etc etc. So I do admit a bit of embarrassment about my unfamiliarity with Wheatus prior to attending this event — because they fit so very well into that type of sound scape.

But now in reflection, I will readily admit their set this night not only most certainly grabbed my attention – I would also argue they delivered a scene stealer performance versus some of the event’s more notable headliners.

I was struck in particular how this band sounded so slick, so professional and entertainingly casual on stage. Lead vocalist and guitar player Brendan B Brown had through history always surrounded himself with talent, but his present day band rendition is an exceptional assembly including Matthew Milligan (Bass), Brandon Ticer (Keyboards) and backing duo female vocalists Gabrielle Sterbenz and Joey Slater.

I was also very much taken back by the band’s remarkable young lady drummer, Madden Klass, now the touring drummer for Wheatus. Klass, a clearly fast emerging talent, also plays within New York-based bands Space Junk Is Forever and Raavi & The Houseplants.

Madden Klass – Wheatus

Wheatus, who do have a history of fan popularity within Australia from previous tours down under – did tribute to the Pandemonium Rocks faithful with an exceptionally electrified cover of AC/DC’s Australian rock anthem “Rock N Roll Damnation” and that delivery alone eclipsed preceding acts and also set the bar very high for all who followed.

Link to WHEATUS official: HERE

Event Review & Photo Gallery by Bruce Biegler